BEING VEGAN – Occupy This Book– Mickey Z-vegan on Activism

Paul_G_NewBy Paul Graham

Las Vegas Informer

“What if I told you that I knew a way you could oppose unspeakable animal cruelty, stand up for exploited human workers, help address a human health holocaust, work to reduce the profits and control of the 1%, surrender the hierarchical privilege of species, and do your part to defend the ecosystem before it’s too late? What if I added that this choice also addresses deforestation, topsoil depletion, overfishing, water pollution, rapid species extinction, the proliferation of GMO’s in our food supply, and much more.?  What if I then informed  you that you could do all this 24 hours a day and still have plenty of time for many other forms of protest and dissent?  As an activist–a revolutionary,even–I’d imagine you’d be practically drooling.  Right?  Unfortunately, for way too many of you, the only thing you you drool for is…(wait for it) bacon.  You know who you are.  You think pizza is dreamy and vegans are annoying and you diligently delude yourself with tall tales of being too busy helping humans to care about animals.  In other words, in your eyes: Another world is possible…except at mealtime.  Angela Davis, someone who knows a little about challenging privilege, has declared that being vegan is ‘part of a revolutionary perspective–how we not only discover more compassionate relations with human beings, but how we develop compassionate relations with other creatures with whom we share this planet.”  – An excerpt from Occupy This Book, by Mickey Z-vegan

It has been a great privilege over this past year and a half to be able to work with Sullivan St. Press to help tell the story of a great shift that happened in my own life in becoming vegan seven years ago and how the city and culture of Las Vegas has been changing to embrace more cruelty-free living and eating options.  My book, Eating Vegan in Vegas:  If It Can Happen Here, It Can Happen Anywhere, is more than just a guidebook to where to eat as a vegan here in Las Vegas, but more importantly, why we should be living and eating more consciously for ethical, health, environmental, and spiritual reasons.  It speaks of change in this world and how being vegan is an answer to so many of the challenges that we now face in this world.  We are living in such a critical time in human history and we have the opportunity to see changes take place in this generation unlike any that we have seen before. We need to see these changes take place for the sake of the survival of this planet and every living creature upon it.

Sullivan St. Press continues to be a change agent in the literary and publishing world and has expanded its offerings recently by publishing Occupy This Book by NYC activist Mickey Z-vegan.  According to his bio in the book, Mickey Z-vegan was born and raised in Astoria, Queens and is probably the only person on the planet to have appeared in a book with Norm Chomsky and a karate flick with Billy Blanks.  Armed with with a high school diploma, Mickey is the author of 12 books and has spoken and lectured in venues ranging from MIT to ABC No Rio, from Yale University to Occupy Free University.  Howard Zinn called him “provocative and bold.”  You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress using the Mickey Z-vegan handle.  This is the beginning of an interview that I had with Mickey Z-vegan on being vegan and activism that will conclude in next week’s column.

PG:  What were some of the influences that started you on this lifestyle of veganism and activism?

Mickey:  I would say there were two parallel factors that led me onto the path of veganism and animal liberation.  To begin with, I was raised within a family of traditional animal lovers.  I say “traditional” because, like so many others, we rescued strays and shared our home with many cats, yet we still ate animal products.  That bigger connection happened later for me…as I became more radicalized in my thinking.  As someone who was always guided by an inner sense of antiauthority rebellion, I opted for self-education and this journey inevitably introduced by to a wide range of subversive thinkers.  Once I saw that I could combine my radical worldview with my love for animals into a 24/7 revolutionary lifestyle, there was no turning back.

PG:  How long have you been involved in activism and how has becoming vegan contributed to your worldview and lifestyle?

Mickey:  As you know, activism takes many forms and often, one can be engaged in it without knowing.  For example, I always felt a strong anti-authority ethos and lived it as often as possible.  So, in a way, I’ve always been an activist.  More specifically, I took part in an anti-war “rally” when I was in grade school and remember organizing a petition at age 11 to get more Marx Brothers movies shown on TV!  As I became more aware, all this translated into more sustained activism and my transition to veganism which expanded my worldview to this:  Every minute of every day, we must do our best to challenge and reject classism, sexism, racism, homophobia, patriarchy, ageism, ableism, transphobia, body-shaming, speciesism, and all other forms of hierarchical privilege.

PG:  How would you describe the vegan community where you live right now in NYC?

Mickey: It’s growing and mixed.  NYC is very vegan-friendly, so it’s a relatively easy choice here.  For me, the important thing is to reach the local vegans and get them involved in activism–to see veganism as a radical lifestyle choice.  I just finished up a busy weekend of animal liberation activism here–dolphin hunt, circus, fur industry.  The response and turnout were great!

The conclusion of this interview can be seen in next Sunday’s Being Vegan column.  To order a copy of Mickey Z-vegan’s book, Occupy This Book, go to www.sullivanstpress.com/shop/ebooks/occupy-this-book/.

Paul Graham

Paul Graham was born and raised in Northern California and has lived in Las Vegas since 2004.  He is a top wedding officiate, a green Realtor and writer.  He has a daily vegan food blog www.eatingveganinvegas.tumblr.com which is 365 days and 365 vegan meals in Las Vegas.  He can also be reached at eatingveganlv@gmail.com or www.facebook.com/EatingVeganinVegas.

Paul’s e-book, “Eating Vegan in Vegas:  If It Can Happen Here, It Can Happen Anywhere” is now available at  www.sullivanstpress.com/shop/ebooks/eating-vegan-in-vegas/.

3 Responses to BEING VEGAN – Occupy This Book– Mickey Z-vegan on Activism

  1. more labels
    more separatism
    more inequality
    more lies
    more suffering
    more death

    “control of the 1%?” BS! Everyone is Most Important
    “As an activist–a revolutionary” BS! More lies
    “vegans are annoying” BS! Lying labels
    ‘vegan is an answer” BS! Truth and Life are the answer
    “how has becoming vegan” BS! You asked him to lie
    “I’ve always been an activist” BS! He doesn’t even know who he is himself

    Protest all you want. You have made the situation worse, regardless of the so called good intentions.

    This isn’t a game and it appears you do love the animals Paul, but clearly you love lies and your ego much more.

    The Truth was presented to you with evidence. Your responsibility was, and is, to uphold the Truth when presented with evidence. Just like everyone else. You have spoken for a cause and so it is your responsibility to speak truthfully.

    Life is Most Important in Life. That is not only the Truth, but this Truth is self-evident. The Truth itself says we are Most Important. We cannot be less while we live.

    The evidence is provided that Life is Most Important in Life. None on earth can contest this without committing hypocrisy (lying).

    We either agree with that and the conclusions it presents or we deny the Truth, specifically: The Most Important Truth in Life. When we deny the Truth we deny that Life is “truthfully” worth saving from unnecessary harm.

    If we won’t accept the Truth when the evidence is provided, then by what means do we want others to make the best choices? Because you say so?

    The facts are clear. For all the sweet talk of loving the animals found here in your column you have chosen to love the lie more than Life and deny the Truth.

    How many more days must MORE animals suffer and die until you check your ego?

  2. There is something more horrific than a cart full of dead animals and that’s a person that denies the truth of who they really are. The latter is the root cause of what leads to the slaughter in the first place and every single one of all of the other needless and preventable cases of life suffering and dying.

    You don’t realize your own importance and attempt to make wide spread environmental change.

    I’ve seen enough to realize that the chances of you getting past your issue with embracing the truth, in the standard lifetime of days you may have left, are slim.

    The amount of suffering required to snap you out of this illusion you live in where you pick and choose, discarding the truth as you see fit, is an amount that you would not likely survive.

    Occupy? Pff they were ready to shut down the world, as bad as it is, and make it even worse. Very few involved upheld the truth as more important than their own cause. This is why the truth put an end to it. In particular, it said the most important thing in life is life. They had to stare it in the face every day to stay and made them keenly aware to the actual reason why it all mattered and left them to work out within themselves how they missed it. You bet. Pop. Most of inflating reasons people persued were exposed as such.

    More people blaming others and looking to make excuses for their own poor choices. More people denying their own importance, most important. More people denying the importance of others.

    Reality check time. This isn’t over until everyone is okay, including the 1%.

    All the while inciting others to protest, but NOT do it for the truth. They could of easily caused much worse problems and they would have if they continued their their path of denying the the truth while seeking to facilitate wide spread environmental change.

    They tore apart chickens and that’s when when I saw enough.

    I saw liberty on faces of people that had never experienced it before. They shined in glory. Much like you do Paul, like in your last post. Alas, it ended when the choice for the truth was was not as important as their egos and lies.

    This is my last comment here. You don’t know how lucky you were to get a heads up. I don’t think you will in this lifetime. One thing is for sure. There is going to be suffering, and suffering, and more suffering until everyone, 100%, accept the truth. There are no exceptions, as none of us is above the truth.

    Almost always people ask, “how did you know?”
    Those aren’t the ones I see running out on the train tracks blindfolded saying, “follow me”. Those people usually don’t survive. Their denial of the truth itself manifests their denial as the train and quite literally destroy their own self if not for the Devine intervention of the truth.

    It hurts worse than being tortured to death. Much worse. When it does don’t say you werent warned.

  3. For people who are interested getting into a deeper discussion of these issues within an academic setting you should check out the 13th Annual North American Institute for Critical Animal Studies conference April 11-13 at Rice University in Houston, TX. The event will also be live streamed for those who cannot afford to attend.

    For more information and a detailed schedule visit http://icasnorthamerica.wordpress.com/current-conference-2014/

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